Mildessa Mild German Sauerkraut, 28.6 oz. Can
Pros: The mild flavor let’s you taste all of your sandwich, not soggy or drippy like supermarket brands.
Cons: Because it comes in a can, you need to have a container ready for leftovers.
I adore Manhattan Deli in Reno. Housed in Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, its menu boasts Reuben sandwiches that cannot be finished in one sitting, egg creams (seltzer, chocolate syrup, and ice cold milk), thick-sliced New York cheesecake, and matzah ball soup that rivals any Jewish mother’s recipe! It’s not just a matter of portion size or nostalgia for my childhood in Brooklyn, it’s the flavor of all the ingredients. One such delectable flavor comes from the sauerkraut with which they garnish Reuben sandwiches, deli platters, and Hebrew National hot dogs. It took me nearly a year to get up the courage to ask one of the servers what brand they used. It’s as though I expected to be banned for life because I desired professional secrets.
I was delighted to hear our server say “Let me check” and then quickly return with the name of the Saeurkraut written on scratch paper: Mildessa. As soon as we got home, I Googled Mildessa and discovered that no local grocery store carried it. However, I could buy it by the case through Amazon.
Mildessa has a mild flavor because of its ingredients: white cabbage, wine and salt. The only two brands available in our local Safeway (Steinfeld’s and Safeway Brand) have way too much bite in them for me. I like to taste the meat in my sandwich, too. From what I can tell, the difference in flavor comes from the wine. The other two brands use water, and Steinfeld’s adds preservatives.
As for nutritional content, I needed to consult my calculator. Mildessa is made in Germany where sauerkraut is a side dish instead of a garnish. A serving of Mildessa sauerkraut is 5 ounces. It also says 130 grams and 1 cup. My best guess is that the cup refers to volume because a standard cup is 8 ounces. A serving of Steinfeld’s sauerkraut is 30 grams, with no equivalent measure. Safeway uses 2 tablespoons as a serving, which is equal to 1 ounce. According to a conversion chart on my refrigerator, 1 ounce is 28 grams. Since Mildessa specifies 5 ounces, I divided its numbers by 5 to fairly compare it with Steineld’s and Safeway brands. This is the best comparison I can come up with:
Mildessa Nutrition Facts
Servings size: 5 oz. (130 g/1 cup)
Servings per container: about 6 (the can has a net weight of 28.6 ounces, which would be the number of 1-ounce servings)
Calories: 45 per serving, 9 per ounce
Total Fat per serving: 0 grams
Sodium: 560 milligrams per serving, 112 per ounce
Total Carbohydrates per serving: 9 g (dietary fiber, 3 g; sugars, 2 g), 1.8 (dietary fiber, .6; sugars, .4) per ounce
Protein per serving: 2 g, .4 per ounce
Steinfeld’s Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 30 grams (1.07 ounces, to be exact)
Servings per container: 10 (the jar has a net weight of 16 ounces)
Total Fat: 0 grams
Sodium 250 milligrams
Total Carbohydrate: 1 gram
Protein: 0 grams
Safeway Brand Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 2 tbsp (1 ounce)
Servings per container: 14 (the jar has a net weight of 14.5 ounces)
Sodium: 200 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 1 g (dietary fiber, 1 g; Sugars, 1 g)
Comparing the three on a nutritional level, Mildessa has 4 more calories per ounce, less than half the sodium, and .8 more carbohydrate of both brands. The few extra calories and slightly higher carbohydrate level is likely due to the wine, which is probably the reason for the lower sodium level and smooth flavor. When you consider that sauerkraut is most often coupled with high sodium deli, it’s a pleasure to have a garnish with less than half the sodium and twice the flavor of its American supermarket competitors.
The greatest moment I had was when a box of six cans of Mildessa Mild German Sauerkraut arrived at my door. The flavor is the same as it is in Manhattan Deli, and I finally can make Hebrew National hot dogs taste as good at home as they do in the restaurant.
As for storage after opening the can, I still had about half a jar of Steinfeld’s sitting in the fridge, so I tossed out the bitter mess and ran the jar through the dishwasher. In the future, I might buy a Mason jar or see if Tupperware makes something that would work just as well; but in the meantime, this works very well.